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Micromanaging boss
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22 September 2004

Dear F@W,
My boss is treating me like a friggin child and I can’t take it! She is the ultimate micromanager – hounding me constantly to make sure I’m doing what I’m told. Give me a break – all I seem to hear is, “Is it done yet?” “What’s the progress?” “Where are we at?” If I hear another question come out of her mouth I’m gonna explode. When I remind her that we have lots of time, all she can say is that it does no harm to check up on me. No harm my ass! It harms my self-esteem and confidence and I’m going to end up harming her if it continues. How do I get my boss to trust me before I absolutely lose it?
–Anna, Sacramento California

Dear Anna,
All types of micromanaging are manifestations of fear and insecurity. The way to address micromanaging is to address the fear that underlies it. This is done by giving the boss as much security as possible that the job will actually be done. As soon as the boss develops confidence in you, she will ease off. In extreme cases, the micromanaging will continue despite your effort to allay her concerns. Here is how I recommend you deal with it: when you get the assignment, be really clear about the next time that the two of you will check in with each other. Once your boss gives you a date and time, then immediately reach agreement with her that even if she comes to you before that time, you will not discuss the matter with her until the appointed date and time. If she comes earlier than the appointed time, then hold her to the agreement she reached with you. To the best of your ability, you should try to keep this as lighthearted as possible, otherwise you might inadvertently aggravate the situation.

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